Thursday, December 04, 2003

December 3, 2003

..."it was all about money"...

Last Meals: fried chicken (three chicken breasts--well done), french fries, lettuce, tomato, berry cobbler and a coke.

The skinny: Duncan, 61, was executed for the slayings of his boyfriend's parents at their Houston home more than 16 years ago. Duncan hoped to share the $500,000 life insurance of the couple to save the failing computer business he ran with the couple's son and another man.

"It was all about money," prosecutor Kelly Siegler said.

Unsolved: The brutal murders had gone unsolved for six years when Houston police got a break.

Solved: Robert John Alexander knew who did it, and he could no longer live with his troubled conscience. Alexander gave police the evidence they needed to convict Duncan, his former roommate and lover who also had a relationship with the victim's son, Gary High.

The crime: The trial portrayed Duncan as the manipulative, dictatorial leader of "a family" made up of himself, Alexander and Gary High.

The three had developed a thriving computer business that was doing well until 1987, when the oil business went bust.

Alexander testified that Duncan had talked of killing the Highs so that Gary High would benefit financially.

Police at first thought the couple died accidentally of asphyxiation because they smelled gas and found a gas grill connected to an open jet behind the washing machine.

They found the wife, on her bed and the husband, 72, lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, where police initially thought he had died from gas fumes after falling and striking his head.

But investigators soon found evidence of something more sinister. the wife had been smothered to death and placed on the bed with a book beside her as if she had fallen asleep reading. Her reading glasses, however, were across the room.

Although Duncan was a prime suspect at the time, police did not have enough evidence to convict him until Alexander contacted them in 1993, saying he wanted to clear his conscience. Alexander, who had become involved with another man, was no longer living with Duncan.

Alexander was granted immunity for his testimony. He agreed to call Duncan at his home in Seattle and record the phone conversations.

Duncan implicated himself in the phone conversations and was arrested Feb. 3, 1994, in Seattle.

Last words and such: Asked if he had a final statement, Duncan said he did not but replied: "Now that I see my family here and everything, all I want to say is I love you all so much. I'm innocent and you know that." As the lethal injection started, Duncan continued to look toward the five friends her referred to as family, saying, "They're so beautiful. Aren't they?"

Factoids: Duncan is the first of five scheduled to die in Texas over the next eight days.

Duncan was the....

63nd murderer executed in U.S. in 2003
883nd murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
23nd murderer executed in Texas in 2003
312th murderer executed in Texas since 1976